OT: Teknonyms (was: OT: Re: Anthroponymics)
|Date:||Wednesday, October 19, 2005, 19:08|
--- In email@example.com, Benct Philip Jonsson <bpj@M...> wrote:
> Actually patronymics are the rule and
(Matronym, not metronym, is what you meant, I'm sure.)
(what would a "metronym" be?
Naming someone after how tall or heavy he/she is?
Naming someone after the closest metropolis?)
> a very rare exception. They only occur with people
> who want to make a point, such as feminists.
> One interesting detail is that the few people who
> do have a surname (mostly immigrants) are listed
> in the phonebook under their surname, while most
> people are listed under their first name.
How common cross-culturally and/or cross-linguistically are
teknonyms, that is, naming someone after their child?
As an /un-official/ thing, it is /extremely/ common here in
particularly so with younger speakers (those still in school, e.g., --
the younger the speaker is, the more likely he/she is to call an
adult "X's Mom" or "X's Dad", or "X's Grandma" or "X's Grandpa", even
in direct address.)
I gather there are other countries -- Iraq, e.g., and other Arabic-
speaking countries as well -- where it is a common custom.
says, inter alia,
"Khadijah bint Khuwaylid had six children from her marriage to the
Prophet Muhammad, two sons and four daughters. All six children were
born before Muhammad started preaching Islam. The first son, Qasim
ibn Muhammad, died when he was two. Muhammad was nicknamed Abu Qasim,
meaning the father of Qasim."
I remember reading about a Sub-Saharan African tribe with the custom
that, when a woman's first grandchild was born, she changed her name
to "X's Grandmother". In the story, her first grandchild was "Ko".
The non-Africans, upon revisiting Africa and re-encountering her,
address her as "Ko's Grandmother", to which she replies, "No, I'm
just 'Grandmother' now"; by which her foreigner friends know that Ko
And, of course, there's "Mary the mother of Jesus".
This would lead me to the decidedly inexpert and under-informed guess
that teknonymy must be pretty common cross-culturally and cross-
Does anyone actually /know/?
Tom H.C. in MI